Twitter Surpasses MySpace, Becomes 3rd Most Popular Social Networking Service

On September 28, Twitter surpassed MySpace in unique visitors to become the third-most popular social networking service, behind Facebook and Microsoft’s Windows Live profile. According to its latest stats, Twitter has more than 160 million users and is adding 370,000 users a day.

The Los Angeles Times quotes Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, onstage at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, “Twitter strikes me as being a very important platform,” and “Twitter should be able to come up with advertising and monetization products that in our opinion are highly lucrative.”

Twitter had nearly 96 million unique visitors in August, up 76% from the same period a year ago (as reported by ComScore), while MySpace shed 17% in the same period, dropping to 95 million unique visitors last month.

Twitter and MySpace are still small in comparison with Facebook, which jumped 54% to 598 million unique visitors in August, and Microsoft’s Windows Live profile, which combines the company’s Web-based e-mail and other services to grab 140 million unique visitors. The Los Angeles Times speculates that Twitter could gain even more visitors following its redesign, launched two weeks ago.

On the same day these new stats were revealed, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo was in New York at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Mixx Conference to unveil Twitter’s new Promoted Accounts, through which advertisers can boost their audience on Twitter by paying Twitter to automatically suggest to users with similar interests that they “follow” the advertisers. This new initiative will give businesses the opportunity to get their updates in front of users, not just their ads. Twitter also plans to roll out a self-serve advertising system for small businesses next year.

Costolo also said Twitter was abandoning its @earlybird initiative, an account that Twitter users could follow to get daily deals from advertisers.